An Open Letter To Spurs Fans

Everyone's jealous that you have a great team; now shut up about it

For the last two decades, the Spurs have been one of the best teams in the NBA. For a team that has plenty of older players (Tim Duncan turned 39 this week but still averages 13.9 points per game), the Spurs are still capable of dominating in the playoffs.

Every year, usually around the “Rodeo Roadtrip” slump, where the Spurs are on the road for nine games while San Antonio welcomes the Stock Show and Rodeo, basketball analysts comment that the Spurs aren’t looking hot that season. This year was no different, with San Antonio having its first-ever losing record on the road trip. The team looked like a far cry from the one that won last year’s championship.

It’s easy to write the Spurs off when they continue to lose games and get injured. But for Spurs fans, nothing matters before the All-Star Break. Like every year after All-Star Weekend, the Spurs seem almost on fire, winning games and climbing their way to the top of the standings.

This is when San Antonio fans get cocky. They laugh in spite of everyone who forgot the Spurs always manage to peak at just the right time, just when it really matters. You’ll find the Spurs fan smirking over Kawhi Leonard’s amazing footwork and the moment the Spurs take a sizable lead, bragging about the team. When they win, Spurs fans are quick to declare that the team will be taking home the trophy. When they lose, Spurs fans are vocal about how the refs were obviously paid-off to not notice how dirty the opposing team played.

San Antonio isn’t the place for fans of any other team. It’s almost dangerous to cheer for any team but the Spurs during playoffs, where San Antonio fans can be hostile about defending “Spurs territory.” This was apparent when Charles Barkley verbally assaulted San Antonio and was met with negative responses and the iconic “Barkley Dont Know” shirts. Walking into the AT&T Center wearing anything but Silver and Black (or retro-Spurs garb) is the equivalent of walking around with a target on your back.

It’s no secret that the Spurs are an incredibly humble team, which is one of the reasons that it’s easy to love them. Between the obvious bromance among the "Big Three" in H-E-B playoff commercials and the way that the Spurs talk about the team and its fans as one big family, it’s no shock that San Antonio’s heart beats wildly for its team. With such a modest team, why are Spurs fans so boastful about winning?

Spurs fans thrive when the Spurs win. San Antonio loves nothing more than all the perks offered when the Spurs win a playoff game. From free Valero coffee to discount oil changes, San Antonio cashes in when the team does well. Spurs fans make a huge spectacle of every playoff victory, using every win as an excuse to throw another party and brag about how well San Antonio is doing.

Gregg Popovich expects nothing but the best from the team and that’s how fans need to respond to Spurs wins. He’s known for being a grouch, but in reality, Pop is like a father to the Spurs. Popovich is the father that demands to know why the Spurs are bringing home A’s instead of A+’s. In his post-game interviews, Pop will list everything that the Spurs need to do better, from not allowing turnovers to making more shots. 

Popovich takes on a tough love approach to the Spurs and when Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker finally retire, they will be passing the torch to Leonard, Danny Green and Tiago Splitter. San Antonio has fallen in love with these younger players and if these are the future leaders of the team, fans need to expect them to step up and be the leaders that the “Big Three” are.

Don’t count the Spurs out when they have an off game, but don’t declare them the winner before they’ve earned it. It’s time to take a lesson from Pop and encourage the Spurs to be better than they are. The “race for seis” is on, and if the Spurs really want that ring, they need to earn it. As a Spurs fan, I want to see them win, but I would love nothing more than to see fans be humble about wins. Trash-talk doesn’t build a team that will continue to win — fans need to encourage the team to improve. 

Reach the social media editor at dlbarnet@asu.edu or follow @danicalbarnett on Twitter.

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